James Matthew

Sanding down the smooth surface of R&B history with rough, tape-hiss sandpaper, this new SLF Tapes release from James Matthew spans some real distance in just under nine minutes. The sheen on all of those saxophone solos and silky synth melodies has disappeared with age and been buried so far into the mix that it’s like Kenny G cut all of his curly locks and is now just another member of a horn section in some smokey lounge band. I really prefer it this way.

Listen to it below, and download the entire nine-minute experience for yourself over at the SLF Bandcamp page.

• SLF Tapes: http://www.slftapes.com


“Lead Balloon”

I’ve never been to Minnesota. But surely residents of the state claiming the blueberry muffin and common loon have their demands — surely they have needs. Some people need warm food, some people need mo’ money, some people need less problems, some people need a little love, some need a country with fewer idiots with guns, some just need fewer idiots, and some people only need one more toke, man, just one more. With upcoming EP Needs, to be dropped February 12, Minnesotan band Carroll proposes to tell us just exactly what four young men in the Bread and Butter State have been jonesin’ for.

Turn, then, your attention to Carroll track “Lead Balloon,” premiered and streaming below. The track appears to assert Carroll’s belief that sometimes all a song requires is a full-throated, candid vocal performance and a producer who can mix those croons to the track’s front. The lush guitar blooms and lazer-pointed synth provide easygoing support to Brian Hurlow’s lyrics. While there are certainly bands and bards in 2013 hunting for ways to revolutionize melodies with unknown sounds and shapes, Carroll’s “Lead Balloon” propose that a crystal, honest voice and clean chords are all it takes to fully sate a certain set of aural needs.

• Carroll: http://carrollmusic.tumblr.com

Guest Mix: Virtual Flannel

Ritual De Los Goblins

So, this fellah Chris Bridge began making music as Virtual Flannel (a.k.a. ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ) when he purchased an OP-1 Synthesizer. Developing his own sounds using this instrument stirred his musical inspiration, and the boii went mad with beats. Warped with his love for “that raw dirty lo-fi tape culture,” he began to put forth his first collection of jams on cassette. Recently, he hooked up with Noorden through his deep pal Yellow Tangerine (on the mix) while he was curating the Rumble When Bumble, an all OP-1 compilation. After seeing all their limited art, Chris sent them his demo, which was turned into his first Self-Titled CD-R and art pack. It was released in a limited amount of 50, but the second edition is on its way. He’s also now working on the follow up to the Self-Titled art pack coming out soon on cassette. For a tad more info on the fellah, scope this interview.

Aside from Chris’ rundown as a musician, he provided us with a bunch of new beat tracks to wobble your head to on this FriFri. I’d suggest following the peeps on this mix, both recognizable musicians and the unheard. He even included himself, which is a bold move, but believe me-him-you, it fits right in there. Ain’t no left about it, if you’re feeling the flow, use your words. Maybe we got a new based rapper on our hands in you. Feel the lax and chill with a cooler. Snag a slice and work them feet. If you driving: SWERVE. It’s a mad world, Friday fans. Let’s keep the peace!

Stream below, and subscribe to our podcast here.

[00:00] 22 Pound Cat - “Art Mission 9”
[00:51] u n s i g n e d - “cassettemud”
[03:16] chunli & hikari - “Sometimes I Sleep”
[04:51] PoptartPete - “Over Exhausted”
[07:08] Dink - “Manage It Management”
[08:39] Tuamie - “Mental Erosian”
[10:02] AdamBomb - “Ritual De Los Goblins”
[11:54] SamWinters - “Polygon”
[13:05] Option Command - “Windmills”
[15:56] Yellow Tangerine - “Springonjupiter”
[17:49] Jogging House - “My This, My That”
[19:43] Basketball Camp - “Court Vision”
[23:43] Duke Slammer - “Pixel Melody”
[26:42] Virtual Flannel - “1 4 U”
[30:15] Worpo - “When You’re Alone”
[33:05] robertsduvall (dtcpu & barefoot shrubs) - “tape hiccup”
[36:00] Matthewdavid + Anenon - “slowtapeedit”
[39:35] The Marx Trukker - “Bon Temps”
[42:07] Trance Farmers - “When The Right Time Comes”

• Virtual Flannel: http://virtualflannel.bandcamp.com



YYU, the man obsessed with time in 2012, might be letting it pass by a little more naturally in 2013. This new feel-good ditty “Hills” seems to be made by an entirely organic creature. Sure, there are minor chop-ups and blip-outs throughout the song, but the guitar and voice are forefront, making it sound about as far away from vaporwave as the Seahawks are from winning the Super Bowl.

• YYU: http://yyumoo.bandcamp.com

Soft Kill

“Seven Hundred”

At the tail-end of Gumshoe’s wonderful “Re-Labeling the Future” feature was a nod to Handmade Birds, a small label based in North Texas. In 2012 alone, HMB released some of my most favorite albums by some of my most favorite artists: Theologian, William Fowler Collins, Sutekh Hexen, Pinkish Black, Circle of Ouroborus, loveliescrushing, Panopticon, and… seriously, the list actually goes on. If you’re wondering what you may have missed last year, or you simply need something to soundtrack this bleakest of winters, I’m certain reviewing HMB’s output would be sufficient. Hey, as we learned, small labels need all the support they can get. Why not support one of the better ones? And while you’re buying Handmade Birds back catalog, why not look to the future, too?

On January 22, Handmade Birds will be releasing a new 7-inch EP (ltd. 500) from the now-Portland (hi, neighbors!) based neo-goth band Soft Kill (ex-Blessure Grave). This EP is the first to collect Soft Kill’s new material since their 2011 album, An Open Door. It contains two songs, “Current” and “Seven Hundred,” and is (predictably) quite good. On top of being “quite good,” or because of it, the EP features Atriarch’s Maximillion Avila on drums, was recorded by Stan Wright of Arctic Flowers, and was mastered by James Plotkin (who, if you didn’t know, also made some seriously great music in 2012).

So, yes! Support Soft Kill, who has another full-length coming in the spring, and support Handmade Birds. Make it your new year’s resolution to not be an asshole who steals music from small bands and small labels. I promise: it will make the real free stuff (see below) all the better!

• Soft Kill: http://anopendoor.bandcamp.com
• Handmade Birds: http://handmadebirds.com



And she said, “shhhh, mistakes are the sweetest things in the world.” And you look and you fiddled your thumbs. And she wipes its forehead. And the water is warm. And this is totally visual to you. And like HD, right-right. And she’s paying attention, so you pay attention. And your figures pay the bills in which attention is driven to. And the water is hot. And she says “hi” to it. And you keep calling it “it.” And she uses bath salts, lightly. And your eyes rip red. And nah, nah, this shit super sweet, yeah. And your thumb. And her forehead. And it’s only just as big as your hands are together. And OMG, like — that one movie Antichrist, amIriiiite?? And at its most real, you don’t know. And she doesn’t know. And it’s there breathing. And the water is burning. And you feel her. And she feels you. And where do you go from here? And here it is cooking up again. And if you missed it, it’s dangling right here. And your hand. And a little right leg. And a foot no bigger than your thumb. And the visual of it — searing — makes you THAT much more confused. And your glasses fall off onto it. And y’all laugh. And laugh.

• 18+: http://18plus18plus18plus.tumblr.com


CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we'll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.